Business In:Brief with Kevin Bush (Grass Fed Milk)
CEO and Managing Director of Grass Fed Milk – 2019-present
Kevin Bush is the CEO and MD of Grass Fed Milk, an Australian dairy company focussed on providing antibiotic-free and 100% grass fed milk. Grass Fed Milk's cows graze on New Zealand pastures 365 days a year and are never fed grain or other bulking foods.
Below, Kevin discusses the women who've inspired him, his plans for conquering social media and the power of keeping things simple.
What was your first job?
My first job was delivering newspapers. I was 11 years old and wanted to get working straight away.
What's your proudest achievement?
Personally, it's the beautiful family my wife and I have created. We've been together for 30 years, and are both incredibly proud of our two children.
For business, it would be moving to work in China and being successful in a totally different cultural and work environment. It was amazing how different the approach to working was there. While the language and cultural aspects were at times challenging, I really enjoyed the fast paced work environment.
What's something that you have learned in business that took you by surprise?
How little people really understand about owning and running your own business.
Grass Fed Milk is my second business and over the years I've advised a lot of SME owners as well. People think it's easy being your own boss, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Running your own business comes with a lot of very different challenges to being an employee, however, I've learned it is also much more rewarding.
How do you plan on growing your business in the near future?
Our growth strategy includes a big focus on social media and the digital space as this is where smaller businesses can compete on a more level playing field against the big players. It's also a much more effective tool in reaching your target market directly and having greater control over the messaging. In my experience, it has better ROI than more traditional media and can be adapted to suit evolving priorities quickly.
What other business leader do you most admire and why?
My last two bosses in corporate life, Bridgette Heller and Katy Lam, are big inspirations to me. I have always welcomed diversity and believe it brings so much to a workplace in terms of innovation (not just in product but in how you do things), strategy and execution. Bridgette and Katy were always there to challenge me, and whilst I didn't always get it at the time, in hindsight, it allowed the business to achieve some really significant breakthroughs and success.
This coupled with the freedom to "get on with it" after we had these discussions was very welcomed versus being micromanaged. To me that is the sign of great leadership, knowing your role is to lead, not to manage, and bring the best out in individuals and teams.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Go slow to go fast. As you grow you have to take people on the journey with you and not just tell them what to do. That works when you are small, but as the size of your team grows you have to invest the time into communications and explanation. Whilst it's frustrating in the beginning when things start to go off track (as they inevitably do) it saves time in the long run.
What advice would you pass on to someone starting out in your area?
Keep it simple – stay focused on strategy and adapt your tactics as conditions evolve.
People often complain about business changing all the time. However, it's up to leaders to create clarity on their vision, strategy and tactics. The first two shouldn't change in a 2-3 year period. What might change is the weighting – the priority of the strategies or the tactics you're achieving. It's important to be clear about this upfront and communicate it to people.
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